The Torture in the Grave
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on Sept 16, 1988)
Last Friday we learned about what will happen when a person dies and how his soul separates from his body for the believer and disbeliever. We also mentioned how souls ascend up into the heaven after separation and how they are returned back into their bodies in the graves. It was also, mentioned that after death, two angels come to the dead one to question him about his Lord, religion, and the message of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and based upon his response, his grave becomes a piece of paradise or a piece of hell.
Today I will talk about the punishment in the grave after death. Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Qur’an, Surat Ghafir, (Verses 45 & 46), what can be translated as, "So Allah saved him (Moses) from the evils that they plotted (against him), while an evil torment encompassed Pharaoh’s people. The Fire, they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon and on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): "Cause Pharaoh’s people to enter the severest torment!" This means that the people of pharaoh are being tortured from the time after their death till the Day of Judgment and when this Day comes they will face the severest torture in the hell fire.
Imam An-Nawawi, in his explanation to "Sahih Muslim" said, "You should know that the Ahlus-Sunnah (Sunni Muslims) believe that there will be torture in the grave after death. Such belief is supported by evidences from the Qur’an and authentic Ahadith and all Muslims must believe this."
Imam Ibn-Taymiah said, "The early Muslim generation and their scholars believed that people will be rewarded or punished after their death and before the Day of Judgment. This happens to the soul after being separated from the body or to both the soul and the body after they reunite in the grave."
Imam Ash-Shawkani said, "The torture in the grave after death exists which is supported by many authentic Ahadith that all brought the same facts (Mutawater Ma’nawi)…"
Many authentic Ahadith handled this matter, one of them reported by Imam Bukhari that Samurah Bin Jundub narrated that one morning the prophet (S.A.W.) said to his companions: "Last night, two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me "Proceed." I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man’s head, injuring it. The rock rolled away and the thrower
followed it and took it back. By the time he reached the man, his head returned to the normal state. The thrower then did the same as he had done before. I said to my companions, "Subhana-Allah! Who are these people?". The said "Proceed."
So we proceeded and came to a man lying flat on his back and another man standing over his head with and iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man’s mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back of the neck and similarly tear his nose from front to back and his eye from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man’s face and did just as he had done with the other side. He hardly completed this side when the other side returned to its normal state. Then he turned to it to repeat what he had done before. I said to my two companions, "Subhana-Allah!" Who are these two persons? They said to me "Proceed."
So we proceeded and came across something like a baking oven, which was very noisy and full of voices. We looked into it and found naked men and women, and behold, a flame of fire was reaching from underneath, and when it reached them, they cried loudly. I asked them who are these? The said to me "Proceed."
So we proceeded and came across a river (red like blood). The prophet (S.A.W.) added, and behold in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank was a man who had collected many stones. Behold, while the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. He returned and every time, the performance was repeated. I asked my two companions, Who are these two persons? They replied, "Proceed!" "Proceed!."
And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance, you could ever see a man having! Beside him there was a fire and he was kindling it and running around it. I asked my companions, Who is this? They said to me "Proceed!" "Proceed!"
So we proceeded till we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colors. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number that I have ever seen. I said to my companions, Who is this? They replied, "Proceed!" "Proceed!"
So we proceeded till we came to a majestic huge garden, greater and better than I have ever seen! My two companions said me, "Go up" and I went up. The prophet added, so we ascended till we reached a city built of gold and silver bricks. We went to its gate and asked the gatekeeper to open the gate, and it was opened and we entered the city. We found in it, men with one side of their bodies as handsome as the most handsome person you have ever seen, and the other side as ugly as the ugliest person you have ever seen. My two companions ordered those men to throw themselves into the river. Behold, there was a river flowing across the city, and its water was like milk in whiteness. Those men went and threw themselves in it and returned to us after the ugliness of their bodies had disappeared and they became in the best shape. The prophet (S.A.W.) further added, my two companions of Angels said to me: This place is Eden Paradise, and that is your place. I raised up my sight, and behold, there I saw a palace like a white cloud! My two companions said to me: "That palace is your place." I said to them: "May Allah bless you both! Let me enter it." They replied, as for now, you will not enter it, but you shall enter it one day.
I said to them, "I have seen many wonders tonight. What does that mean, which I have seen?" They replied: "We will inform you." As for the first man you came upon whose head was being injured with the rock, till the day of judgment, he is one who learns the Qur’an and neither recites it no acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the obligatory prayers. This will happen to him until they Day of Resurrection
As the man you came upon whose mouth, nostrils, and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the one who goes out of his house in the morning and tells so many lies that it spread all over the world. This will happen to him until they Day of Resurrection
And those naked men and women whom you saw in a construction resembling an oven, till the Day of Judgment, they are the adulterers and adulteresses.
And the man whom you saw swimming in the river and given a stone to swallow, till the day of judgment, is the eater of usury (Riba). And the bad looking man you saw near the fire kindling it and going around it, is Malik, the keeper of the Hell Fire.
And the tall man whom you saw in the garden, is Abraham and the children around him are the children who die upon Al-Fitrah (The Islamic Faith). The narrator added: "Some companions asked the prophet (S.A.W.): "Oh Messenger of Allah, "What about the children of pagans?" The prophet (S.A.W.) replied: "And also the children of Pagans." "
The prophet (S.A.W.) added: "My two companions added: "The men you saw half handsome and half ugly, were those people who had mixed a righteous deeds with other bad ones, but Allah forgave them."
Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask Allah (S.W.T.) to save us all from the torture of the grave. We should always repeat and increase this supplication as we were told by the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).